You Are Not Your Feelings: You Are the Acknowledgment of Your Feelings

In his book “A New Earth” Eckhart Tolle discusses spirituality and how we can go beyond our thoughts to find who we really are. A quote that I particularly appreciate: “What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”

What Tolle is saying with this quote is that we are not our thoughts but the acknowledgment of our thoughts. The same goes for feelings. We are not our feeling we are the acknowledgment of our feelings. While we may be thinking we are stressed, or while we may be acknowledging feelings of stress we are not actually stressed – we are acknowledging it.

By making this differentiation we add another layer into our thought process, and we separate ourselves from our thoughts and feelings. When we separate ourselves from our thoughts and feeling we are better able to handle them in an effective manner. We respond to situations in a more beneficial and results oriented fashion. We are able to better process our thoughts and feelings in an objective way.

Remember: The importance is not on the thoughts and feelings we have – it is what we do with them.

control mind spirituality

Scapegoating, How Others Use It to Control and Manipulate Us

“I am not your puppet master.”

When I said those words, it felt like an epiphany, but it sure did not look like what you would expect an epiphany to look like. The sky did not open, there was no bright light shining down on me. Due to fear, my face showed no emotion. I had an internal smirk. It felt good to stand up for myself, and while I would do anything to avoid confrontation, I was prepared to fight -my life would never be the same.  

People used to tell me I made them do things. They would tell me I was the one who made them yell. I was the one who made them mad. Essentially, I was the one who made them treat me in a manner I did not deserve. Avoiding confrontation and not wanting to ever make someone upset – I was submissive.

I would say sorry and feel guilty that I did something wrong. I would be upset with myself and try to think about how I could avoid making someone upset or mad in the future. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to control myself from making people mad. I was confused. I felt like I had to be quiet and invisible in order not to make any waves.

Then I grew up.

Spiritually that is. With finding my own spirituality I realized that I am the only one that can control my feelings and actions. While my environment and other people may affect me, I am in ultimate control. With that comes the realization that others control their actions and their emotions. I do not make someone mad. I do not make them do something. They do that on their own accord, and if they suggest otherwise, they are using me as a scapegoat.

It seems so simple. So logical. I feel like I knew it all along, but I didn’t actually know it. I realized the confusion from before was due to me controlling my emotions while others used me as a scapegoat for their own. I was holding myself accountable for not only my own emotional state but other people’s emotions as well. With me taking on all accountability there was none left for anyone else – how convenient for them.

Scapegoating is something that I do not see discussed often. However, I see it in everyday life and have experienced it in my own. It is a way that people can try to control others – sometimes without even noticing it. Scapegoating seems to have been intertwined into our culture, and people, with even the best intentions, may not realize they are doing it.

Scapegoating can come in many forms and I believe that people use emotional scapegoating to cover their poor emotional intelligence. We hate to admit we are bad at anything, but one thing I am certain of, is that our society does not nurture emotional intelligence. It is no wonder why we are better at pushing our emotions down than facing them.

We need to be accountable for our own emotional state. We need to stop allowing others to scapegoat their feelings and actions. If we no longer allow it then it will force others to learn how to control themselves. We also need to be diligent to not use others as a scapegoat.

“I am not your puppet master.”

There was no fight. There was confusion, but this time it was not mine. After all this time, I finally stood up for myself. Something he least expected. It seemed he did not know how to respond, but he gave me this, “Oh yeah, you are not my puppet master?” Like a proud tutor whose most troubled student just solved a complex, algebraic equation I said, “exactly!” I elaborated, “I am not in control of your emotions, you are. I do not make you mad, you make yourself mad. I am cutting the strings, you are accountable for your own emotions, control yourself.” I found the strength to stop the abusive manipulation I had lived with for the majority of my life.

There are a lot of inspirational quotes and analogies that reference the lion. Encouraging others to have the strength of the lion, to be the lion amongst sheep, etc. Hell, I used a lion analogy in one of my previous posts. I realized the other day, that instead of being the lion, for now I am going to be a goat. No longer a scapegoat, I am going to be lively and adventurous. I am going to climb on the side of cliffs and graze in meadows. Maybe I’ll make an appearance at one of those goat yoga classes, baaaaaaa namastday. Sometimes I’ll chill in my meadow and stare at the sky and the clouds or the stars. When any lions walk past, they know better than to enter. Because I am the goat that walked through the lion’s den and came out stronger than before.


FALSE: Anger is a punishment

I’ve been seeing a quote float around the IG, pop-inspiration pages characterizing anger as a punishment and it is frustrating to see this spiritual bullshit. Not just because it is completely inaccurate and downright awful. But because it is misleading and misguiding people who, most likely, genuinely want to spiritually grow.

The quote:

“Anger is a punishment you give yourself for someone else’s bad behavior, mistake or character flaw.”

– Unknown

Note: It is not clear who is the author of this quote. This quote has been attributed to several different authors and is sometimes listed as being by “Unknown”. If the author would like credit for this monstrosity of spiritual bullshit they are more than welcome to contact me and I will give them the proper credit for this epic fucking fail.

While I am sure the person who created this quote had genuinely kind intentions – they missed the mark. Quotes like these are wide spread in the self-help community, but they do not send the right message, and anyone following the ideology behind the quote is not going to find the emotional intelligence and happiness they most likely seek.

🚩 Red Flag

Any “thing”… quote, saying, person, etc., anything that invalidates a human emotion has no place, anywhere. This quote invalidates natural, human emotions – it needs to go.

✅ Clarification

Anger is NOT a punishment. There is no room for discussion here. Anger is an emotion. Our emotions tell us things. They let us know “hey, that’s not right,” or “something is up.” If we consider them to be a punishment we are essentially considering our natural being to be a punishment. Doing that is creating a breeding ground for depression and anxiety – no thanks!

Emotions are a natural part of the human experience. Emotions are not punishments. When we accept our emotions we learn to understand them and the “why” behind why we feel them. After we accept our emotions we will be able to handle our emotions in the most effective way, and not allow them to overtake our mood. The more we effectively control emotions, like anger, the less we will feel them.

When feeling angry the best things to do is to acknowledge that anger is a very real emotion and that everyone has experienced it. Yes, even Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama have experienced anger at one point in their lives. There is nothing wrong with you if you feel angry. It is important to differentiate between feeling an emotion and acting upon it. Just because you feel angry does not mean you need to act aggressively.

I am going to finish with a quote about anger that is legitimate and insightful. I found it in a book I highly recommend, called “Mind Over Mood.” The book was written by two psychologists who have helped countless people work through anxiety and depression with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Anger is linked to a perception of threat, damage, or hurt, and to a belief that important rules have been violated. We also can become angry if we think we have been treated unfairly or prevented from obtaining something we expected to achieve. It is not simply the hurt or damage that makes us angry, but the violation of our rules and expectations.

Dennis Greenberger, PhD | Christine A. Padesky, PhD